Tennis legend Rafael Nadal will drop out of the ATP top 100 for the first time since March 2003 after the French Open finishes.
While it was always inevitable, the 36-year-old will drop from world No. 15 out of the top 100 altogether when the rankings are revealed after the Roland Garros major.
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As Nadal won the 2022 edition of the event — his 14th French Open title — he has 2000 rankings points which will drop off at the conclusion of the tournament.
Currently on 2445 points, it will see Nadal fall to 445 points, which would currently rank him No. 136 in the world.
The last time Nadal was outside the top 100, he was just 16 in the early days of his time on the tour.
Nadal hasn’t played since the Australian Open in January and had already seen his 18-year streak inside tennis’ top 10 players ended by the injury.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion suffered a grade 2 tear in his iliopsoas muscle – the main flexor of the hip joint – triggering his Melbourne exit in January.
It was initially expected he would only be sidelined for six to eight weeks but the issue has stubbornly refused to heal quickly.
Last week, Nadal revealed he would miss the French Open, the tournament he’s dominated like no other.
Nadal has an unthinkable 112-3 record at Roland Garros, losing only to Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djovokvic in 2015 and 2021.
In Nadal’s withdrawal press conference, he revealed the 2024 season would be his last on the ATP tour.
“It’s probably going to be my last year on the professional tour, I can’t say this 100 per cent because you never know what’s going to happen,” he told a news conference.
“The injury I suffered in Australia has not healed as we hoped.
“Roland Garros became impossible. I will not be there after many years, with everything that (tournament) means to me.”
Nadal didn’t have a new date for his comeback but suggested the Davis Cup in November would be a potential target.
The Spanish legend said after his career, he didn’t deserve to go out because of injury, which it’s hard to argue with.
“I believe I don’t deserve to finish (now),” he said.
“I think I have fought enough during all my sporting career so that my end is not today, here in a press conference. My ending will be in another way and I will fight so that my end will be in another way.”
Tennis legend and Eurosport commentator John McEnroe said while the end was much closer than the beginning for Nadal, he has no doubts the Spaniard could go out with a 15th title in Paris in 2024.
“I would never say that he couldn’t win at Roland-Garros,” McEnroe told Eurosport.
“Anyone that’s done what he’s done, as long as he stepped foot on a court would have a great chance.
“(Rafa) reminds me a lot of LeBron James. LeBron James is a little bit older and is part of a team, but I think he proved he was still a fantastic player.
“But you know, maybe at the end of those (season-end) games he got a little tired because too much was expected from him.
“And at some point, that’s what’s gonna happen to Rafa, it happens to everybody, you’re going to be asking too much.”
While Djokovic is on the second line of betting for the tournament behind Carlos Alcaraz, he will enter the tournament as world No. 3, behind Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic has also been battling a right elbow injury and hasn’t made it past the final eight in the three clay tournaments he’s played this season.
The French Open main draw kicks off Sunday May 28.
It was an odd quarterfinals match at the French Open between Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas Tuesday.Alcaraz blew Tsitsipas out in straight sets — 6-2,
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